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  • Writer's picturePattie Harte-Naus


This summer, I had the pleasure of meeting Krista Ginger at the Galena Art Fair.  We spoke about the Belden Boy books and, of course, Belden School.  Krista was excited to tell me that her Great-Grandmother, Evelyn Hansing (married name Wilmarth) was a student at Belden School and went on to graduate from Galena High School. She is the tall girl by the door with the black sweater.  Krista said that her Great-Grandmother was nicknamed "Tex” since she rode her horse to school everyday.

But it is Evelyn's sister, Bea Hansing, who was the real character at Belden School. Undoubtedly, the children of Belden School loved her. It’s funny that Krista mentioned Bea in particular, because just yesterday, I interviewed Dale Breed and Jim Breed.  The Breed family has lived on Longhollow Road on various homesteads/ farms for more than a century, and Dale Breed just happened to mention during our interview Bea as "the teacher whom the children loved“ at Belden School. As the story goes back in the day, one child did not want to go to Longhollow School down the road. Walked to school by her mother each morning, she would turn around and come back home. That is, until Bea took her by the hand and walked her to Belden School instead.  There, little Vera stayed for two years. How coincidental the two stories meshed!

Krista remembers her Great-Grandmother's sister Bea  as a “happy character” right up to the day she died. Though loved as a teacher at Belden School, Bea moved on and became a nurse after her teaching days.  But it was Krista's great grandmother Evelyn, she recalls,  as a truly lovely and kind woman who relished her childhood out 'in the woods at the farm'. She remembers her talking about the horse bobsled

rides heading to school on really cold days.  She even talked about that even at the end of her life!” How wonderful it would’ve been to have known these wonderful sisters of Belden School!

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